The Epic Boom and Bust of the Ostrich Feather Market

by Kelly Jensen Kelly Jensen Digital Collections Specialist, California Academy of Sciences, gives one of five Shift Ignite talks earlier this year at the Shift Forum. A fascinating tale of tulip-mania (but with feathers!), this five-minute Ignite talk reminds us all what happens when social behaviors rapidly change. Kelly Jensen: Hi, I’m Kelly Jensen. I’m …

Continue reading ‘The Epic Boom and Bust of the Ostrich Feather Market’ »

Battling to save the Ethiopian wolf – Africa’s rarest carnivore

Claudio Sillero, University of Oxford Most members of the Canidae family, such as wolves, dogs and foxes, are versatile and opportunistic animals, thriving in many habitats and some even living in urban and suburban settings. In contrast, Ethiopian wolves are highly specialised to life in the Ethiopian highlands. Also called the “Roof of Africa”, it …

Continue reading ‘Battling to save the Ethiopian wolf – Africa’s rarest carnivore’ »

Sea cows are more African than lions

Julien Benoit, University of the Witwatersrand When you think about typical African wildlife, a few animals almost certainly spring to mind: zebras, wildebeest, lions, cheetahs and buffaloes. But fossil records tell us that these species aren’t originally from Africa. In fact, their ancestors originated in Asia when Africa was separated from the rest of the …

Continue reading ‘Sea cows are more African than lions’ »

Honey-hunting chimpanzees are cleverer than we thought

Vittoria Estienne, Max Planck Institute Chimpanzees are the closest living relatives to humans. Because of this they can offer invaluable insights into understanding the evolutionary roots of how humans developed their cognitive and technological abilities. Years of data taken from studies conducted on wild apes suggests that chimpanzees could have something similar to what we …

Continue reading ‘Honey-hunting chimpanzees are cleverer than we thought’ »

Why is it important to understand how elephants sleep?

Paul Manger, University of the Witwatersrand Humans and animals need to do several things to pass on their genes: eat, avoid being eaten, reproduce and sleep. Missing any of these biological imperatives leads to death. But when we’re asleep we can’t perform those other functions. One of modern science’s big mysteries, then, is: why do …

Continue reading ‘Why is it important to understand how elephants sleep?’ »